Wal-Mart offers a large variety of merchandise from electronics to groceries, and has become one of the biggest chain stores in North America, continuing to expand its business worldwide (Fran, 2010, para. 4). Due to its size, buying power and purchase volumes, the company buys products at very low cost and offers them at very low prices. Wal-Mart has become the face of reality in many Canadian cities, including my neighborhood of Greater Vancouver, British Columbia. There is no doubt that such a giant company influences my community, but the growth of the Wal-Marts in the Vancouver area is not causing the community to lose part of its distinctive character. People always describe the uniqueness of the area they live. Defining “distinctive character of the community”, Gary Pivo (1997), the professor of Urban Design and Planning at Washington State University, states that “people use terms like rural, neighborhood, village and urban character to describe something they value” (p. 1). Criteria which characterize communities include historical and architectural background, social and economic status of people and natural surroundings (Pivo, 1997, p. 1). Therefore, arrival of Wal-Mart to community may affect all aspects of its character such as population, social interactions, economy, natural environment, heritage and architected design, but these effects are minor and mostly positive. Wal-Mart is been often criticized by community activists for changing the community design (Gee, 2013, para. 2). It is not surprising that people will not like the appearance of grey square box building in their neighborhood. However, by its business model Wal-Mart “nearly always, builds along a highway outside town to take advantage of cheap, often unzoned land” (S. Anderson, 1994, p.2). Wal-Marts in the Greater Vancouver area are located in the industrial area or are the parts of big shopping centers, which have no historical buildings, museums, local artist’s shops, or anything...
References: Eaves D. (2008). Vancouver and Wal-Mart – a missed opportunity. August 12, 2008. Retrieved from http://eaves.ca/2008/08/12/vancouver-and-wal-mart-a-missed-opportunity
Gee M. (2013, June 7). Calm down, Kensington – Wal-Mart won’t destroy you. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/calm-down-kensington-walmart-wont-destroy-you/article12435294
McAlister M. (2001). Wal-Mart’s cheer: my short life as an associate. Catholic New Times.
Pivo G. (1992). How Do You Define Community Character? Adapting the Environmental Impact Statement Process to Snoqualmie,Washington. Retrieved from http://www.u.arizona.edu/~gpivo/Character.pdf
Wal-Mart Canada Awarded Best Employer for 50-Plus Canadians
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